Mal Waldron’s Black Glory

Though this is an analysis—and an album breakdown,—I’ll make it brief, by briefly deconstructing the album without fully going in-depth on other structures as most of my audience is new to the genre of Jazz.

Who is Mal Waldron? A brief synopsis on Waldron isn’t enough to familiarize any audience on his achievement during his career, but I suppose it would help give you a little information on why I specifically chose to review such an underrated instrumentalist of his time.

Mal Waldron was a proficient, professional American jazz pianist, composer, and arranger, who scored numerous films and wrote for several plays and ballet. He’s notably known for his most famous written composition “Soul Eyes” which he wrote for John Coltrane and wrote with John Coltrane in mind—a track which you can find on John Coltrane’s record “Coltrane.” In his 50-year career, Waldron has associated with Billie Holiday, John Coltrane, Steve Lacy, and more on stage. His style of play is very much reminiscent of the early hard bop, but Waldron usually branches out of his comfort zone to satisfy the urges of avant-garde enthusiasts.

Black Glory is an album consisted of live recordings, recorded on June 29th, 1971, In Munich, released on the Enja Label.

Black Glory is a perfect amalgam of avant-garde and hard bop. Waldron’s ensemble which consists of a trio—Jimmy Woode on Bass, Piere Favre on drums, and Mal Waldron himself on the piano—increase simplism while minimizing distraction. Everyone receives an opportunity stand out. Each artist’s solo is vibrant; the trio feeds off one another, and it’s quite evident per each break (A transitional passage in which a soloist plays unaccompanied), as you sense the call-and-response between artists; helped by the fact the performance is live.


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